Facial attractiveness, weight status, and personality trait attribution: The role of attractiveness in weight stigma

Obes Res Clin Pract. 2017 Jul-Aug;11(4):377-388. doi: 10.1016/j.orcp.2016.03.007. Epub 2016 Apr 11.

Abstract

The current study examined the influence of facial attractiveness and weight status on personality trait attributions (e.g., honest, friendly) among more and less facially attractive as well as thin and overweight models. Participants viewed pictures of one of four types of models (overweight/less attractive, overweight/more attractive, thin/less attractive, thin/more attractive) and rated their attractiveness (facial, body, overall) and personality on 15 traits. Facial attractiveness and weight status additively impacted personality trait ratings. In mediation analyses, the facial attractiveness condition was no longer associated with personality traits after controlling for perceived facial attractiveness in 12 personality traits. Conversely, the thin and overweight condition was no longer associated with personality traits after controlling for perceived body attractiveness in only 2 personality traits. Post hoc moderation analysis indicated that weight status differently influenced the association between body attractiveness and personality trait attribution. Findings bear implications for attractiveness bias, weight bias, and discrimination research.

Keywords: Attractiveness bias; Personality attributions; Weight stigma.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Beauty*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight*
  • Face
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Overweight / psychology
  • Personality*
  • Social Perception*
  • Social Stigma*
  • Thinness / psychology
  • Young Adult